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Pipeline Q&A: Rangers' Hans Crouse

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we're sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Rangers camp, it was Texas' No. 3 prospect, Hans Crouse.

Crouse's arm strength and ceiling caught the attention of many teams while he was at Dana Hills High School in California. The Rangers, never ones to shy away from high-risk, high-reward prospects, took him in the second round of the 2017 Draft and went above pick value to sign him for $1.45 million. The right-hander threw 20 innings in the rookie-level Arizona League for his debut, finishing with a 0.45 ERA while holding hitters to a .109 batting average and striking out 30 (vs. seven walks).

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- As part of MLB Pipeline's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we're sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Rangers camp, it was Texas' No. 3 prospect, Hans Crouse.

Crouse's arm strength and ceiling caught the attention of many teams while he was at Dana Hills High School in California. The Rangers, never ones to shy away from high-risk, high-reward prospects, took him in the second round of the 2017 Draft and went above pick value to sign him for $1.45 million. The right-hander threw 20 innings in the rookie-level Arizona League for his debut, finishing with a 0.45 ERA while holding hitters to a .109 batting average and striking out 30 (vs. seven walks).

Rangers Camp Report

MLB Pipeline: This is your first Spring Training. You're a pretty high-energy guy. How excited were you to get going?

:: MLB Pipeline Spring Training reports ::

Crouse: The offseason was fun, but once New Year's rolled around, I was ready to get back after it. I've been waiting for this day for a long time. I'm excited to see the guys and I'm ready to get rolling.

MLB Pipeline: What was your offseason regimen like? You haven't gone through that before, getting ready for a long season. How did you change things compared to when you would get ready for a high school season?

Crouse: I definitely took more time off from throwing. I didn't start throwing until about mid-December. When I first got off after instructional league ended, I took about two weeks off to relax and hang out with family. As soon as that ended, I started working out five times a week on a regular regimen, three lower-body lifts, two upper-body lifts a week. I did my running, too, on the same days I'd lift. I started bullpening around early January to get ready.

MLB Pipeline: Was that hard for you? I get a sense that you're not used to not doing things, not throwing all the time.

Crouse: Yeah, when I was in high school, maybe I'd take a month off, max, and I'd start throwing in the back end of November, maybe even late October. It was definitely hard to take that time off especially because my older brother plays baseball, too, and he was throwing. It was tough to watch. He was at USC, but he just had Tommy John surgery. He's rehabbing and is going to try to throw for teams in May and June.

MLB Pipeline: You didn't throw a lot during your pro debut, but you got your feet wet. What were your takeaways from that stint as a pro pitcher?

Crouse: The biggest thing was getting into my own routine, not even so much throwing-wise, but what I have to do to prep myself before throwing. Things like getting in the weight room early, stretching my body out right. Throwing-wise, the biggest thing I took away was developing a better changeup. I've always been a big fastball-slider guy, so getting that third pitch into my arsenal and showing hitters I can flash it just to let them know that I have it is going to be a big thing for me this year.

MLB Pipeline: Have you found a changeup that works for you?

Crouse: I've been throwing a little modification of a circle changeup, resting my index finger on the side of the ball and my thumb under it. Henderson Lugo, one of the pitching coaches out here when I was in the AZL, showed it to me and I've really liked working with it so far.

MLB Pipeline: A lot has been made about your energy on the mound. Some would call them antics. Have you had to rein that in at all since you've joined the Rangers, or do you feel like you can just be you all the time?

Crouse: The biggest thing I've loved about coming here to Texas was when I first got here, one of the first things they told me was, "We're not going to take away who you are out on the mound. We're going to still let you do your Johnny Cueto shimmy, we're going to let you quick pitch. We're going to let you be who you want to be out on the mound." I've heard people talk and say, "Oh, his antics aren't going to fly in pro ball" and I totally agree with them. My fist pumps and energy I brought, you can't be doing that stuff in rookie ball. I know my place for that stuff. That's how I responded in high school. That's something you would do in Game 7 of the World Series, like if you come in with the bases loaded and punch out the side, or something like that.

MLB Pipeline: I saw you pitch at the National High School Invitational at USA Baseball. You're on to bigger and better things now, but how much do you think about that run your team had?

Crouse: That was probably one of the greatest experiences I've ever had baseball-wise, even non baseball-wise, just getting to jell with my teammates out there, making friendships with teammates I never thought I'd make friendships with. It was such a unique group of guys we had out there, from young freshmen to four-year varsity players. I was actually watching some of the videos recently, looking back on it. The walk-off hit is obviously something I'll never forget.

MLB Pipeline: I asked your farm director, Jayce Tingler, if you'd been bugging them about hitting, but he said you hadn't.

Crouse: I asked if we could do some pitcher's BP here and there, but no game stuff.

MLB Pipeline: Do you miss the old-time uniforms you guys wore during the NHSI?

Crouse: Oh yeah. Every chance I had to call for those uniforms, I called for them when I was out on the mound. The starting pitcher for Dana Hills always got to make the call for which uniforms we wore that day. I was always a big old-school guy.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

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